Dr. Friedel’s Book

Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified

Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified (the book) was written by Dr. Friedel to provide a comprehensive and authoritative source of information for people who have, or think they may have borderline disorder, and for their families. It is now in its 2nd Edition, having been revised and released in 2018.

This is one of the few books on Borderline Personality Disorder written by an academic physician who has researched the disorder, presented national and international conferences to academic and public audiences, and takes care of patients with BPD in his clinical practice.

The updated material in this book is considerably more extensive and detailed than that which can be provided on this website. It is likely that you will need much of this information as you seek and progress in treatment.

Since the book was published in 2004, it has sold over 80,000 copies worldwide and is available in paperback, Kindle, etc.

Purchase this book online by clicking on any of the following links:


Book Reviews

Excerpts from several of the reviews of the book follow:

“For readers who suspect that they or someone they love suffers from BPD, this guide is a good place to start learning how to find help.” Publishers Weekly

“Dr. Friedel offers a scholarly, compassionate, and wise book that will enlighten people with borderline personality disorder and those who love them. Drawing from his longstanding commitment to their care and inspired by his lifelong devotion to his deceased sister, Friedel’s perspective on borderline patients is uniquely well-informed and heartfelt. Readers will find it reassuring to learn that, contrary to what many people believe, this disorder is both understandable and treatable.” John Gunderson. MD, author of Borderline Personality Disorder: A Clinical Guide

“This informative and compassionate book dispels myths and replaces misunderstanding with a wealth of knowledge so patients can get effective help. Clear, concise, and readable, Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified is helpful not only to those with BPD and their loved ones but also mental health professionals who want to know more about this disorder and what it is like to suffer from it.” John Livesley, MD, PhD

“This book is a sensitively written, scientifically informed overview of borderline personality disorder. Both caring and authoritative, Dr. Friedel is a rare academician who combines a touching humanistic perspective on this challenging clinical syndrome with a deep and wide grasp of the rapidly growing relevant scientific literature.” Kenneth S. Kendler, MD

“Every page of Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified flows with compassion and hope for clinically diagnosed borderline patients and their family members.The author’s cogent summarization and analysis of the latest research-based information is critically needed in this time of increasing public awareness. Even more importantly, Dr. Friedel’s willingness to share his own heartfelt personal story will help give a sympathetic face to this much misunderstood disorder that causes un- told suffering for millions of people.” Randi Kreger, coauthor of Stop Walking on Eggshells and the Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook

Book Contents
Chapter 1. What is Borderline Personality Disorder and How is it Diagnosed?

Borderline disorder is characterized by four groups of symptoms: 1) poorly regulated emotions; 2) impulsivity; 3) impaired perceptions and thinking; and 4) markedly disturbed relationships. This chapter describes in detail the specific symptoms and characteristics of borderline disorder.

Chapter 2. You Are Not Alone

If you have borderline disorder, it is often difficult to believe that others also suffer from the same painful feelings and experiences that have plagued you. In this chapter, I tell the stories of two people with borderline disorder in order to help you feel less isolated and to help you better understand the disorder. One of these people is the first person I knew with the disorder, my younger sister Denise. Then I “introduce” you to one of the first patients with borderline disorder that I treated. Throughout the rest of the book I comment on specific episodes of their stories, and those of other patients with borderline disorder, in order to illustrate and clarify important points.

Chapter 3. The History of Borderline Personality Disorder

This chapter is intended to provide you with a clear understanding of the origin and meaning of the term “borderline” disorder, and key historical landmarks in clinical and scientific thinking about the disorder.

Chapter 4. What are the Causes

There are a number of misconceptions about the causes of borderline disorder. This chapter clarifies some of these misconceptions and describes the biological and environmental factors that place individuals at risk for developing borderline disorder.

Chapter 5. Tracing The Course of The Disorder

The purpose of this chapter is to describe the symptoms of borderline disorder as they may emerge and evolve from early childhood to old age, and how these symptoms are affected by changing events and relationships throughout life.

Chapter 6. Borderline Disorder and the Brain

The brain is vastly more complex in every respect than other body organs. However, we now know enough about it to begin to describe the brain circuits and the chemical signal transmitters that appear to be affected in people suffering from borderline disorder. Some of this information is provided in this chapter.

Chapter 7. Common Co-occurring Disorders

Borderline disorder appears to predispose people with it to a number of other mental disorders. In some instances, borderline disorder may be misdiagnosed as one of these disorders, and therefore, not treated. In other cases, the diagnosis of other disorders may be mistaken for the symptoms of borderline disorder, and those disorders not treated properly. This chapter reviews the disorders most commonly associated with borderline disorder and points out distinguishing features.

Chapters 8-10. Treatment

These three chapters describe the strategies involved in the effective treatment of borderline disorder. These include the key elements of treatment, the use of medications, and the choice of the most appropriate type of psychotherapy.

Chapter 11. Borderline Personality Disorder in Children

Some controversy exists among experts in the field about the diagnosis and treatment of borderline disorder in children. This chapter extensively reviews the current status of these issues.

Chapter 12. When a Loved One Has Borderline Personality Disorder

This chapter is written for those of you who have a family member who suffers from borderline disorder. A family member with borderline disorder can cause multiple and serious problems and conflicts in the family. It is fortunate that there are now sources of help available to you so that you are better able to act effectively and supportively both during times of acute crises and during times of calm. Ten guidelines on how best to respond to specific situations are provided in this chapter.

Chapter 13. Research: The Ultimate Reason for Hope

Much of what is known by the medical community about borderline disorder has been learned over the past two decades as the result of research. This chapter will describe some of the main advances in our knowledge, and opportunities that are being explored. Finally, suggestions are included on how you can help advance research on borderline disorder.

Other Material

A section on Resources contains a comprehensive list of organizations and groups that offer information and support to patients, families and friends with borderline disorder and related illnesses. The Glossary lists medical terms used throughout the book that may not be familiar to you, but are important to your understanding of the material presented. Finally, there are References to information about borderline disorder that I cite in this book.